Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.
They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“The greatest among you must be your servant.”
I sometimes struggle with the fact that people often look to me for leadership when, in many ways, I know that I’d rather just be a member of the “supporting cast.” It seems easier to be true to your servant’s heart when you let someone else be in charge. But sometimes God makes it clear that he wants us to put our talents in the forefront, and take the lead. For me, that means turning my reluctance into humility, seeking the advice and help of colleagues, and knowing that true servants can’t go it alone. It also means having the courage, with God’s help, to make decisions about how best to serve. Some may disagree with me, and I might make the wrong decision. But if I remember that any greatness I achieve comes only from my sincere desire to serve God and others, I can find the humility and confidence to lead, both when we realize our desires, and when we fall short.
—Fr. Mark Mossa, SJ, is the Director of Campus Ministry at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL.
Divine master, give me the humility to answer your call to lead. May I never think so much of myself that I find any service beneath me. Grant me a sincerity of heart that will shine through in both my successes and failures. Help me to accept both gracefully, trusting in your plan. Help me to put aside my reluctance and fear. And give me the courage to serve creatively, even if I risk failing spectacularly.
—Fr. Mark Mossa, SJ
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